Monday, July 17, 2006

Developer Conference in The News

Ok so it's going to be maybe Wednesday before I can post my photos, but I can at least mention what was talked about in the news at the develop conference while I was there. And no I wasn't asked not to talk about anything or asked to sign an NDA.

Epic's Mark Rein Not an Episodic Fan
Mark did the opening keynote and he was supposed to talk about the pitfalls of next generation development, but it turned into a discussion about episodic content. Mark was of the opinion that episodic games are bound to fail because they don't offer a complete experience and that developers should be discouraged from doing episodic games. And why bother because games and sequels to games continue stories anyway without giving the gamer the game in parts with a six month gap between episodes.
I have heard this point from other developers, but episodic content is a new thing, it hasn't been proven and is just one of those ideas that must be proved or disproved for us to learn from it. Interactive films is a good previous example that needed to be tried a few times before we can stand back and judge wither it was a good idea or not. In the case of interactive movies they don't work because they ask the player or viewer to be passive for a time then pickup the controller and make a choice. It is disconnected while still requiring action. If the viewer is sitting eating while watching the movie part, when an interaction point is reached they must then wakeup, consider their choice, put down their food, find the controller and make a choice. I only mention food in this example because that's what happens to me.

XBox Live attach rate has grown 50 percent, from XBox to Xbox 360; Live Anywhere the next step
I was in this talk, handing out feedback forms and generally being on hand to help. And yes it's nice to know that Arcade is doing so well, but Jeff also talked about being able to preview downloadable content in the future and that soon games will be able to show achievements in game. For example there might be a trophy cabinet with a gamer's achievements in game as 3D objects.

Everything you know about MMOs is wrong
While this was going on I was scanning ID badges and giving out bags & shirts, but from what I have read since it sounded like a good talk.

Joystiq interviews Peter Molyneux of Lionhead Studios
I actually got to meet Peter, I shook his hand, I said I loved Dungeon Keeper and he said thank-you. Peter is my favourite game designer purely because I love some of the games he has made so absolutely. His talk was about how his approach to game design has changed over the years from sitting on pizza boxes and having a bowl full of cigarettes, to communicating with a large team and trying to maintain a conservative vision without getting distracted. Very interesting and he put a lot of heart into his presentation.

what inspires Mizuguchi
I missed this one, but FooFly said it was good.

Game design ideas worth stealing
I missed this one to go to the XBox Live Arcade talk, but FooFly also said it was good.

Sony's Phil Harrison: "I don't think we're arrogant"
He is a very tall man. And talked on the conference debrief panel. Hearing him talk honestly instead of being on stage doing the PR thing at E3 was incredibly refreshing.

28 Days Later: it could've been a video game
I missed this one to go to a talk about the PS3 cell chip.

Joystiq interviews Rob Kay of Harmonix
He took part in a talk about designing games for the masses and I missed this one too.

PS3 dev kit BSOD... sorta
I seen this demo running and it was actually running an ocean simulation (hence why the screen was blue). The demo wasn't receiving input when I picked it up, but the PS3 controller is much lighter than even the original PSX controller. There is a little PS3 logo in the middle of the controller that when pressed brings up an overlayed system menu just like the XBox360. The analogue sticks don't feel as floaty as before. And the lower shoulder buttons are now analogue triggers which is nice.